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Date of creation
  • 2017   Gregorian
Preferred title

Sufism   English  

Work type Single work
Non-literary work Discursive work
Work manifested Article
Work genre Textual work

Adult, serious


The ascetic and mystical element that was implicit in Islam since its very inception grew steadily during the first Islamic centuries (the seventh–ninth centuries CE), which witnessed the appearance of the first Muslim ‘devotees’ (ʿubbād; nussāk) in Mesopotamia, Syria and Iran. By the sixth/twelfth century they had formed the first ascetic communities, which spread across the Muslim world and gradually transformed into the institution called ṭarῑqa – the mystical ‘brotherhood’ or ‘order’. Each ṭarῑqa had a distinct spiritual pedigree stretching back to the Prophet Muḥammad, its own devotional practices, educational philosophy, headquarters and dormitories as well as its semi-independent economic basis in the form of a pious endowment (either real estate or tracts of land). Between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries CE Islamic mysticism (Sufism) became an important part of the Muslim devotional life and social order. Its literature and authorities, its networks of ṭarῑqa institutions and its distinctive lifestyles and practices became a spiritual and intellectual glue that held together the culturally and ethnically diverse societies of Islamdom. Unlike Christian mysticism, which was marginalised by the secularising and rationalistic tendencies in western European societies, Sufism retained its pervasive influence on the spiritual and intellectual life of Muslims until the beginning of the twentieth century. At that point Sufi rituals, values and doctrines came under sharp criticism from such dissimilar religio-political factions as Islamic reformers and modernists, liberal nationalists and, somewhat later, Muslim socialists.

Diamond   W 235801

Created at 15-01-2020 by Dalal Adib (IDEO)

Updated at 15-01-2020 by Dalal Adib (IDEO)